As briefly mentioned in the previous post, Mr Toast and myself spent last week in the Peak District. Alas, I didn’t get as much riding in as I hoped as my mother was also with us, but I still managed to get out a bit!
Monday: Derwent Reservoir – as mentioned last year, the Derwent Cycle centre, like its Parsely Hay counterpart, hires out Duet Wheelchair tandem bikes. Being hillier than the Tissington trail, the Derwent Duet has mountain gears, and it was actually quite an easy ride. Only about 10.5 miles in total, but not bad. As I said, hillier than Parsley Hay, but smoother going due to the tarmac route (closed to most traffic) and the increased gear range.
Weather was…well, mental. It was raining when we arrived, then started hailing as I sorted the hire. Once we actually got out though, the weather picked up and it was reasonably sunny for the most part, and fairly warm whenever the wind dropped. My mother was a bit nervy – it was Bank Holiday Monday, and there were a lot of people around, including less than considerate riders flying onto the route from the sides. I suppose I can understand it, after all she is strapped to the front of the bike and has no control whatsoever… still, she enjoyed it, and that’s the important thing – it’s a beautiful area, and it would have been a shame for her to miss it.
Wednesday: As the weather was a bit iffy and my mother didn’t fancy Poole’s Cavern, we ended up spending the bulk of the day shopping at Meadowhall in Sheffield. I learned that I loathe Sheffield’s roads with a passion.
The day was redeemed by a ride up Mam Tor. It was the same route as the one I took last year, only slightly longer due to starting out from Hope rather than Castleton. This year it was Cletus’ turn to shine – as much as I love the Professor, I decided to take Cletus on holiday for the extensive hill climbs.
As we climbed up the broken road, a few things occured to me. Either I had gotten fitter, Cletus made climbing easier, or Mam Tor has shrunk. I’m sure it was a lot bigger last year…
There was only one bit on the broken road that gave me trouble, and I ended up just walking down it – it was stupid, and it made me angry, but I was tired and run down after spending hours in Sheffield and couldn’t get my head around it. To add insult to injury, there was a hidden pheasant, seemingly chuckling at my inepitude.
Still, I was considerably speedier than last year, to it was all good!
The remainder of the route was fairly gentle, and we encountered a lot of other riders doing a Trail Quest thingie. There was a disappointing lack of Mini Moos, but a pleasing amount of lambs.
Thursday: After Wednesday’s shopping-not-biking-wtf-we’re-in-the-Peaks, I asked my mother for a pass, which was granted. Yay! We headed up to Ladybower, taking in whatever off-road routes we could. Some of these were easy, such as the bridleway from Bamford to Ladybower:
Others, less so…
We did 22 miles in total. Truth be told, parts of it left me properly grouchy – there were sections that were just plain beyond my ability, forcing me to carry or push my bike. It’s that kind of stuff that leaves me disillusioned about ‘natural’ riding – when you’re lacking in confidence and experience, it’s a royal pain in the ass planning a route. Bridleways don’t come with gradings, it’s just a case of suck it and see. You might end up with an exhilirating ride through amazing countryside. Or you might end up fucked off and frustrated, too concerned with how the hell you’re going to get from one end to the other to enjoy the scenery, to actually have any fun. It was a shame we had such limited time, perhaps if we’d had more time to explore we could have found better routes – maybe next year!
Overall it was still an enjoyable ride though (when we actually got to ride the bikes, rather than carrying them…), and there were many wonderous sights to behold… such as a 6ft 7 husband riding Cletus. Poor, poor, 14″ Cletus…
We also stopped off again at the Derwent Visitor centre. The ducks there were shockingly bold, pecking at sleeves, pulling at shorts, and menancing Mr Toast for pasty.
Alas, our ride meant we were too late for treacle tart at the Woodbine Cafe. 🙁
Friday: Parsely Hay – it was back on the Duet with my mother. It was a longer ride this time – 20 miles! Starting at Parsely, to Tissington, then back again.
Alas, my mother was a bit grouchy about the ride length – the weather was a bit variable. Always dry, but occasionally a bit cold and windy. It was actually a bit harder going – the Parsley Hay Duet has a smaller gear range, and neither the brakes, nor the gears seemed to be as smooth as the Derwent Duet. I knew I was setting myself for a bit of a challenge when I freewheeled for 10 minutes from Alsop to Tissington, having to constantly apply the brakes (despite her Top Gun references, my mother doesn’t feel the need for speed!) Let me tell you now: the Tissington trail is easy, but having an extra 10 and a half stone on the front of your bike certainly adds an element of challenge!
So, that was it for this year so far, hoping we can get back later in the summer for a weekend. Mr Toast found a route that he loved, even though he managed to break another carbon bike on it. Long story. Well, not really – apparently the 07 XL Mojos had a manufacturing issue, since fixed. Despite it being out of warranty, and Toast being the second owner, Ibis volunteered to warranty it without issue, with lightning fast responses to emails. That’s customer service! Hopefully Mr Toast will get on well with his replacement, he’s raved about the Mojo so far… if not, I think it’s a sign that Mr Toast and carbon definitely don’t mix!